Rome is one of my favorite places. Ever. Hands down. From the second I landed there, I knew I’d be back even without tossing coins into the Trevi Fountain (tossing coins into the fountain is supposed to guarantee you’ll return to Rome someday). The city is bustling and a little hectic and literally filled to the brim with ruins and remnants of the ancient world – and I LOVE the ancient world. There is so much to see in Rome that no photo tour can really do it all justice, but to be fair, it’s tough to see it all during a visit either. Here are some of my favorite places!
Places to See in Rome
The Colosseum is one of the places you can’t miss and that you shouldn’t miss, even if you’re not much for major tourist attractions. It’s incredibly cool from the outside, but also from the inside.
The Roman Forum is right next to the Colosseum and was my favorite spot in Rome. It’s tough to really imagine how much is here, but it’s essentially downtown of ancient Rome and is filled with temples and government buildings alike.
Inside the Forum, the Temple of Saturn dates back to 42 BC and was used as the state treasury.
The Temple of Vesta is small, but comes with a cool story. The Vestal Virgins were aristocratic women who took a vow of celibacy for their 30-year service terms. If they were found to have had a sexual relationship during their time tending the temple and eternal flame within the temple, they were locked in an underground cell and left to die.
The Palatine Hill is one of the seven hills of Rome, and one of the oldest parts of the city. It’s right next to the Forum and filled with the ruins of the elaborate homes of rich ancient Romans.
The Pantheon is a feat of engineering due to its impressive dome with a hole at the very top that lets a beam of light in, which highlights different parts of the walls as the day goes on. It’s also a rare example of a humble leader. The words on the front of the Pantheon loosely translate to: “Marcus Agrippa Built This,” but it was Emperor Hadrian who largely finished the building and did not elect to stick his name on it.
The beam of light inside the Pantheon because it’s really pretty cool.
This is from a patch of ruins (that’s the scientific term) right in the middle of city stuff called Largo Argentina. It’s widely thought to be the place where Julius Caesar was assassinated. There’s a cat sanctuary right next to it so at any given point, you can play count the kind-of-stray cats here, too.
The Trevi Fountain is usually packed with people on the steps surrounding it, but it’s one of those places you have to see. I was disappointed the first time I saw it to learn that it is NOT ancient. It was built in 1762.
The Spanish Steps are also always packed.
On the way to the Vatican, you can also see Hadrian’s Mausoleum and the Bridge of Angels.
The Bridge of Angels and Saint Peter’s Basilica reflecting in the River Tiber.
Rome isn’t all ancient ruins. It’s also an amazing food city and some of the best ways to experience the local food are the simplest. Stop by a neighborhood market in the morning or pick up some pizza on the way home. Nom nom nom.
Perhaps you took Latin like I did, or perhaps you are an ancient history buff, but either way, don’t miss the manhole covers, which are marked with the letters SPQR. This has been used since ancient times and stands for Senatus Populusque Romanus. It means “the Senate and People of Rome.”